Today I am so pleased to welcome Keira Andrews to Joyfully Jay. Keira has come to talk to us about her latest release, Kiss and Cry. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Before long, I followed Theodore out of the changing room and across the tile pool deck to the condo’s hot tub. We had the entire area to ourselves, which perhaps wasn’t surprising for later on a weeknight. There were cold puddles of water on the tile from earlier users.
“I was like, you can’t be serious. You want me to skate to Phantom and wear a bodysuit with the white mask design over half of me diagonally? What is this, the eighties?” Theodore scoffed as he tossed his towel over a hook on the wall and continued on to the shower in the corner. His towel had barely caught, and it slipped to the floor.
Picking up his towel, I hung it properly before doing the same with mine. Nerves skittered across my bare skin. I’d actually never used the condo’s pool facilities, and my dark surf-style bathing shorts were a few years old and felt tight over my glutes.
But Theodore had me beat in the tightness department. He turned on the shower, waving his hand through the stream of water before stepping under it.
“Why not just do Cats and make me wear a full face of whiskers makeup? Sure, I was still a junior, but it was beyond tacky. It’s like, there are other musicals in the world.”
Water ran down his body as he turned under the shower, the short bathing suit that looked like skimpy red boxer briefs clinging to his backside so tightly they could have been painted on. I’d been pointedly ignoring the bulge in the front of his shorts, and I ripped my gaze away as he faced me, still talking. I took my turn under the shower as he pressed the big red button that switched on the hot tub.
“Well?” He climbed down into the tub and watched me expectantly. “Have you seen it?” He hadn’t sat yet, the water swirling around his lean thighs.
Whatever it was, I probably hadn’t, so I shook my head.
“Oh my God, it’s seriously horrible but hilarious. We should watch it one night. Esmeralda will love it.”
I wasn’t sure my cat would have an opinion on our entertainment, but I said, “Okay,” wondering why the idea of watching a movie or TV show or whatever it was he was talking about didn’t seem like a bad idea. It should have. It was a terrible idea. It was one thing to share coaches. I shouldn’t have been spending my evenings with Theodore.
I should have been asleep already or practicing bedtime yoga instead of sitting in the hot tub with him. I’d convinced myself this was an acceptable activity since it was a component of physiotherapy, which was vital to training.
I hadn’t considered that we’d be half naked. Three-quarters naked, more accurately.
He lowered himself into the water with a long, low moan.
“This is amazing.” He moaned again, closing his eyes. “Get in here.”
I did, because I was about to humiliate myself, and at least my groin wouldn’t be visible under the white water. I bit back my own groan. The heat really did feel wonderful. I stretched out my legs, brushing his calf and whipping back my feet.
He was talking, talking, talking, and laughing about something, and every flash of a smile made my arousal throb. His smattering of chest hair was wet and dark around his nipples, and my throat was dry…
For years after he’d smirked at my pubescent erection in the communal concrete shower room in Croatia, I’d resented him. Where was that lingering enmity now when I needed it? How had it vanished so quickly?
The more time I foolishly spent with Theodore, the less I hated him, and now I found the one emotion that had been so reliable for years had abandoned me. That irrational hate had fueled me.
Could I even beat him without it?
“Turn around.” He made a spinning motion with his finger. “It’ll help.”
I’d lost the thread of conversation, but I didn’t want to admit it. I tentatively shifted to sit sideways on the hot tub’s tile bench. Before I knew what was happening, Theodore surged across the water and tucked himself close behind me, his right leg bent and shin pressing against my backside.
My lungs stuttered as his left hand spread over my ribs. Slowly, using thumb and fingers, he massaged the sore area of my back. He was saying, “I strained these muscles a few years ago, and it’s so awkward to reach yourself. Not that I’m an expert, but does that feel okay?”
All the deep breathing and meditation in the world couldn’t stop my simmering arousal from boiling over into a full-fledged erection. I kept my gaze high on the reflection of the empty pool in the wall of dark windows.
Then I lowered my eyes to the image of Theodore close behind me and my own parted lips. We were small in the glass across the room, but seeing us excited me.
I could feel his breath on my neck like I had standing at the sink. I could imagine his lips touching my skin, his body covering mine, bending me over the side of the hot tub…
“Why are you helping me?” The question scraped out of my dry throat.
His fingers flexed on my side, his tone teasing. “I want to beat you fair and square. It’s no fun if you’re injured.”
I jerked away from him with a splash, sliding to the other side of the hot tub.
He blinked at me before forcing a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Sorry! No competition talk, right? We agreed. There’s no winning and losing here.” He made a zipping motion across his mouth, his lips glistening red in the steam.
I could only stare at him, my breath too fast and my head spinning with confusion. We shouldn’t be doing this. I should get up and leave and stop talking to Theo until after Calgary.
Not Theo. Theodore.
A voice boomed, “Time to lock up the pool area!”
The concierge’s announcement made me jump half out of the hot tub. Unfortunately, it didn’t put a damper on my erection in the slightest, and as Theodore exchanged pleasantries with the man before he left and presumably returned to the front desk, I willed my body to cooperate.
What was wrong with me? I shouldn’t be attracted to Theo—Theodore—and I clearly couldn’t let him get so close to me ever again. I had to put a stop to this, yet no matter how hard I attempted to focus and control my body, I couldn’t.
Climbing out and grabbing his towel from the hook on the wall, Theodore ran it over his hair. And pressed the red button, sealing my fate. The camouflaging swirl of frothing water flattened, steam still rising.
Frowning, he gave me an awkward smile and hesitantly asked, “You coming?”
Humiliation had me in its jaws, and I wished there was a way to slip under the water’s surface and swim back to my condo in darkness.
He crossed the deck, feet slapping on the wet tile to loom on the other side of the hot tub. “Are you feeling okay? You’re really red.” I nodded, but his frown deepened. “Are you dizzy? That can happen if you spend too long in the water and overheat.”
I shook my head. “Go on without me.”
He sighed. “Seriously? Look, I’m sorry I said that. I know we have to keep competition separate from this. Don’t be mad, okay?”
“Just go,” I rasped.
“You sound weird. I’m not going to leave you here. What’s—” He crouched low, scanning me, and his eyes popped comically wide. “Oh! Are you—” He bit his lip, trying not to laugh. His smile grew quizzical. Then hopeful.
His face was so expressive that I could see the progression of his thoughts to the inevitable eyebrow-raising conclusion that my erection was a reaction to him. Perhaps drowning myself was the best option, because surely I was going to die of embarrassment.
Yet his surprised laughter wasn’t cruel. Thinking back now to that horrifying moment in the shower room in Croatia when I’d been similarly aroused by him… Perhaps his laughter then hadn’t been cruel either. Only teasing. We’d both been young, after all. He likely didn’t even remember that fleeting moment that had haunted me far too long.
But here I was making a fool of myself again.
“Oh!” He ducked his head, smiling shyly in a way that made my heart skip a beat. “Hold on.” He returned with my towel, thrusting it out.
All I could do was leap up to grab it and wrap it tightly around my waist to hide my shame. I practically ran to the changing room, flip-flops slapping as I bypassed the shower, chlorine be damned. I grabbed my T-shirt and keys and escaped.
I jabbed the elevator button repeatedly with my thumb, dripping all over the floor. It was very inconsiderate to the cleaning staff, but I had to get away.
The ding finally sounded, but of course Theodore barreled onto the elevator after me, shirtless too with his towel around his hips and a cloth tote bag in his hand.
“Don’t you think we should talk about this?”
I stared at him in mute horror as the elevator rose. This had to be some kind of cruel nightmare. It was bad enough how pathetic I was, and now Theodore was trying to be nice about it, which was so much worse.
When we reached my floor, I lunged past him. And he followed, because naturally he did. Still talking, because naturally he was.
“It’s okay.” We reached my door, and he grinned cockily. “I’m tough to resist. You’re only human.”
I glared at him as I jammed the key in my door and shoved it open. I tried my best to close it in his face, but he was halfway in and I might really hurt him, the wood thick and heavy. He was trespassing, and I shouldn’t have cared about hurting him. Frustration surged.
I need to hate him again. Throw him out. Now!
I kicked off my flip-flops, fisting my hands and close to hyperventilating. “Go ahead. Mock me.” Please. I could process that. That was familiar. That I could resent and cling to.
“I’m not here to make fun of you.”
Pity was worse than mockery, but there was something in his low tone that made me shiver. Goosebumps rippled over my bare chest, still damp in the cool air. My nipples were hard, and my groin throbbed.
“We agree we have to keep this separate from competing.” Theo stepped closer in the little foyer. The red light from the rice cooker illuminated the space just enough. Esmeralda appeared to investigate before disappearing again.
“I haven’t told anyone about our dinners. Have you?”
I shook my head.
“And I know no one at the rink has a clue or my mother would have found out, flown to Toronto, and banged down your door during House Hunters to drag me out of here.”
I almost smiled at that.
Theo did smile, a devilish grin in the red glow. I could only stare as he closed in. Slowly, he loosened my towel and tugged it free…
Will sunny Theo thaw grumpy Henry’s heart? Find out in Kiss and Cry!
Will figure skating enemies become lovers?
Everything comes easily for Theo Sullivan, whether it’s jumps or figure skating world titles. Everyone loves him—judges, fans, coaches.
I hate him.
Now he’s invaded my training center, and I have to see him every day as we prepare for the Olympics. I’m going to win gold if it’s the last thing I do. I’m going to beat him.
But the strangest thing is happening. I’m peeking under his happy-go-lucky exterior and discovering there’s more to Theo than I imagined.
This is a mistake. I can’t trust him.
I can’t be falling in love.
My mom’s convinced training with Henry Sakaguchi will distract me heading into the Olympics. No way—Henry’s epically boring and cold. He might as well be carved from ice.
But when I need help, he’s there. He tries to keep me at arm’s length, but it’s no use. He’s too kind. Too generous. He’s caring and gorgeous and hot, and I’ve never wanted anyone like this.
I might want Henry more than a gold medal.
Am I falling in love?
Kiss and Cry by Keira Andrews is a steamy gay sports romance featuring grumpy/sunshine opposites attracting, secretly soft-hearted boys, hurt/comfort, and of course a happy ending.
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”
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Keira has brought a backlist book to give away to three lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, January 18th at 11:59 pm ET.
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